Feature Stories Campus Events

Lisa Hedrick ’08L Named Richmond Bar Association’s Young Lawyer of the Year

Lisa J. Hedrick, a member of the law class of 2008 and a partner in the firm of Hirschler Fleischer, has been named the 2016 Young Lawyer of the Year by the Richmond Bar Association.

“This achievement is reflective of Lisa’s outstanding leadership in the practice of law,” said James L. Weinberg, president of Hirschler Fleischer, in a statement issued by the firm. “Her dedication to achieving business-oriented results further advances the firm’s ability to provide quality counsel, and we are pleased to see her hard work recognized.”

Hedrick’s practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, private equity and general business law. At Hirschler Fleischer, Hedrick is a member of the Women’s Initiatives Network and the Recruiting Committee.

Outside of the firm, Hedrick is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Mergers and Acquisitions Committee, the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar. Additionally, she is actively involved in the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Richmond Chapter and the Richmond Bar Association’s Business Section Executive Committee.

Hedrick earned her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary.

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Mellon Seminar on Human Rights in Africa Presents Next Lecture by James J. Hentz

James J. Hentz, professor and chair of the Department of International Studies and Political Science at Virginia Military Institute, will lecture at Washington and Lee University as part of the Mellon Seminar on Human Rights in Africa. The event will be Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Hentz will speak on “War across States in Africa.” The talk is free and open to the public. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

“Many of Africa’s post-Cold War wars have been misunderstood and don’t fit any of our traditional categories used to explain war,” said Hentz. “They are not between states; they are not civil wars; and they are not the so-called new wars. They are a new phenomenon that should be called wars across states.”

He will look at the conflicts centered on Mali in Northeast Africa and one centered on the Democratic Republic of Congo to illustrate the nature of wars across states.

Hentz is the co-editor of “New and Critical Security and Regionalism: Beyond the Nation State” (2003); editor of “Obligation of Empire: United States’ Grand Strategy for a New Century” (2004); and author of “South Africa and the Logic of Regional Cooperation” (2005). His most recent book is “The Nature of War in Africa” (forthcoming). He also is editor of The African Security Handbook (Taylor & Francis/Routledge).

He has contributed articles to journals and edited volumes, including Political Science Quarterly, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Journal of Modern African Studies and Hoover Digest.

In 2014, he won the Virginia Social Science Association (VSSA) award for scholarship in International Studies and Political Science. In 2007, Hentz won the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia and was awarded the Duignan Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at Stanfard University’s Hoover Institute. In 2003, he was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Miklós Zrinyi National Defense University, Hungary.

Lessons of the WDBJ-TV 7 Tragedy

Two key members of Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV 7 staff will visit Washington and Lee University Feb. 3 and tell their stories of the tragedy last August when two of their colleagues were shot and killed on live television.

General manager Jeff Marks, the spokesman for his station during the crisis, and reporter Joe Dashiell, a 1980 W&L graduate, will share the lessons they learned on subjects ranging from workplace violence to the unfiltered nature of social media.

The discussion will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Auditorium inside Elrod Commons. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 540-458-8212.

On Aug. 26, 2015, reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were conducting a live interview on WDBJ’s morning newscast when a gunman approached and started firing at them. Both Parker and Ward died at the scene. The woman they interviewed was seriously wounded but survived. The gunman, a former employee, later killed himself.

Marks joined his anchor team on the set and spent much of the day releasing information as it became available and providing a calming voice. Dashiell spent many days covering various angles of the story.

Photographer Bruce Young, a 1985 W&L graduate, was working for a competing Roanoke TV station that morning. He will offer his perspective, as well. Young has since joined WDBJ as a morning news photographer.

Kevin Finch, W&L journalism and mass communications professor, will serve as moderator.

Biological Anthropologist Helen Fisher to Give Questioning Passion Lecture

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, author and professor, will lecture on Feb. 4 at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. Her lecture is part of Washington and Lee University’s year-long Questioning Passion series.

Fisher will speak on “Lust, Romance, Attachment: The Drive to Love and Whom We Choose.” Her talk is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Fisher distinguishes three primary mating drives to explain love at first sight, casual sex and the biological and evolutionary basis of monogamy, adultery and divorce. Using her brain scanning studies of men and women in love, she discusses love addictions, rejection in love, how SSRI antidepressants can jeopardize romantic love and attachment and how to sustain romantic passion in a long-term partnership.

She is the chief scientific advisor to Match.com and chemistry.com and collects data from her questionnaire, the Fisher Temperament Inventory Test. Looking at four styles of thinking and behaving, she reveals how to recognize and influence each temperament and how individuals work, buy, innovate, follow and lead.

Fisher is a leading expert on the biology of human personality and a pioneer in examining the neurochemistry of leadership. Her research in the field of business chemistry has helped determine how biological personality styles can be used to hire, build teams and corporate boards, advertise and succeed at work.

Fisher is a research professor and member of the Center for Human Evolution Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University. She has written five books on the evolution and future of human sexuality, monogamy, adultery and divorce, gender differences in the brain, the chemistry of romantic love, human personality types and why humans fall in love with one person rather than another.

Frank Parsons, Longtime W&L Administrator and Wearer of Many Hats, Dies at 87

Frank Arthur Parsons, who worked in multiple areas of the administration at his alma mater, Washington and Lee University, from 1954 to 1999, died Jan. 28, 2016, in his home at Kendal at Lexington. He was 87.

“It’s hard to know where to begin when describing exactly what Frank did during his 45 years here, because Frank did just about everything,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio.

“His multifaceted career encompassed the integration and coeducation of the student body, both of which enriched W&L, as well as the improvement and expansion of our facilities,” continued Ruscio. “It’s remarkable to think of all the positive changes Frank shepherded and of his devotion to W&L. His legacy will endure for many generations to come.”

Parsons’ positions at W&L included director of publicity; assistant to three W&L presidents (Fred Cole, Robert Huntley, John Wilson); director of institutional research; director of planning and development; university editor; coordinator of capital planning; director of special communications projects; coordinator of facilities planning; director of public relations and information; director of sports information; and director of the news office.

Frank Arthur Parsons was born on May 26, 1928, in Staunton, Virginia. He served in the Army from 1945 to 1948 and 1950 to 1951. While in the service, he wrote for the Pacific Stars & Stripes.

After the military, he worked as the managing editor of the Clifton Forge (Virginia) Daily Review from 1949 to 1950 and during the summers of 1952, 1953 and 1954, while he was an undergraduate at W&L.

Parsons graduated from W&L in 1954 with a B.A. in political science. He belonged to the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

He came to work at W&L on Sept. 1, 1954. During his 45 years, he oversaw the fraternity renaissance of the late 1980s. He served on the Coeducation Steering Committee that prepared the university for the arrival of women undergraduates in the mid-1980s. The road that leads to the sorority houses is named Frank Parsons Way for his role in that residential project. The Lenfest Center and Sydney Lewis Hall took shape under his oversight. He oversaw the publication of the book “Come Cheer for Washington and Lee: The University at 250 Years.” He hired Sally Mann as the university photographer and encouraged her budding career.

In 1982, President Huntley told the W&L alumni magazine: “In every success which the school has achieved in the past 15 years, Frank has played a vital and usually essential part.”

In addition to a strong work ethic, Parsons had a waggish sense of humor, as exemplified by what became known as “The Squirrel Memo.” In 1974, when plans for Leyburn Library were underway at the university, he filled out an application for federal assistance under the Higher Education Act. In convoluted bureaucratese, the form asked several questions about the effects of the library’s construction on wildlife. Parsons replied in a matter-of-fact yet tongue-in-cheek way about those animals. “They have no apparent difficulty in adjusting to relocations brought on by non-federally supported projects,” he wrote. “The library would appear to have no capacity for affecting the squirrels’ or other animals’ genes.”

President Huntley soon received a reply from the bemused director of the office within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. “I salute Washington and Lee and the application preparer anonymous. . . . The mountain of paperwork which confronts me daily somehow seemed much smaller the day I read about the squirrels in Lexington, Virginia.”

The Wall Street Journal picked up the story from a W&L news release, writing approvingly in an Oct. 24, 1974, editorial of Parsons’ memo and HEW’s sense of humor. W&L, in turn, gave Parsons two one-of-a-kind honorary degrees: an M.S. (Master of Squirrels) and a D.F.A. (Doctor of Federal Aid).

For his contributions to the university, Parsons received honors from the students, with the Ring-tum Phi Award, and from alumni, with the Lynchburg Citation from the Lynchburg Alumni Chapter. When he retired in 1999, the city of Lexington issued a proclamation of thanks and appreciation to Parsons “for his sensitive and loyal service to both Washington and Lee and to the City.”

In 2003, Sally Mann and her husband, Larry Mann (a 1970 graduate of W&L), established an endowment in Parsons’ honor that helped fund the first studio art program in photography at the university.

At W&L, Parsons belonged to the academic and leadership honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa, Beta Gamma Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa. In Lexington, he was an active member of the Fortnightly Club, That Club and the Pub Club.

His community service included the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, the board of Lime Kiln Arts and the Whetstone Pond Association of Abbott Village, Maine. He served as a deacon of the Manly Memorial Baptist Church. After retirement, he directed the restoration and rebuilding of the Lexington Presbyterian Church following the devastating 2000 fire.

He is survived by his daughter, Laura Parsons. Parsons’ wife, Henrietta “Henny” Hoylman Parsons, died in 1997; their son, Gregory, passed away in 1973.

A service to celebrate the life and legacy of Frank Parsons will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m. in Lee Chapel on the W&L campus. The Revs. William M. Klein, pastor of Lexington Presbyterian Church, and J. Michael Wilkins, pastor of Manly Memorial Baptist Church, will officiate. A reception will follow in the Hotchkiss Alumni House at Washington and Lee. The service will be livestreamed: http://livestream.com/wlu/frank-parsons

Read a lengthy profile of Frank Parsons from the Summer 1999 alumni magazine, published on the occasion of his retirement from the university.


W&L to Show Film “Cry, the Beloved Country” Feb. 4

“Cry the Beloved Country,” the 1995 film depicting the struggles of two families — one black and white — in pre-apartheid South Africa will be shown Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m., at Washington and Lee University’s Stackhouse Theater.

The movie, based on Alan Paton’s 1948 novel and starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris, is being presented by W&L’s Center for International Education with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It is the second in a series of African films as part of the university’s 2015-16 Seminar on Human Rights in Africa.

Admission is free and open to the public. A 30-minute discussion will follow the screening. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

The first major film to be made and released in post-apartheid South Africa , “Cry, the Beloved Country” raises questions about race, friendship, community and the possibility of reconciliation in a deeply divided country.

Personal Harmony: Professor Joseph Martinez débuts folk music album

Joseph David Martinez, associate professor of theater, dance and film studies, has released his first album of folk songs, “Everybody Says Goodbye,” recorded with the band Goshen Pass.

“I began writing songs in the 1960s,” he said. “I bought my first acoustic guitar in 1965 when I was 16 years old — it cost me $69 — with money I had earned from my summer job. Inspired by singer-songwriters like Dylan, Joan Baez, Donovan and, of course, The Beatles, I became hooked on songwriting and have been writing songs ever since. At this point, I’ve written well over 100 songs that I’m not ashamed of, and many more terrible ones that I’ve thrown away.”

He said the album is a “culmination of a long-held dream to create a professionally produced album of original songs.” Martinez handles lead vocals, plays guitar and wrote all but one of the songs, a traditional mountain ballad, “Wayfarin’ Stranger.”

Martinez, who joined W&L in 1983, has taught acting classes and conducted research on violence in entertainment. His publications include “Combat Mime, a Non-Violent Approach to Stage Violence” and “The Swords of Shakespeare: An Illustrated Guide to Stage Combat Choreography in the Plays of Shakespeare.”

“The professional theater is a demanding career,” he noted, “not to mention raising a family, teaching and working in my apple orchard. I’ve never had the time to devote myself to creating an album. However, now I am on phased retirement, and my children are raised and out of the house. So, two years ago, I got together with Graham Spice, and we began to lay some vocal and guitar tracks down so that I could determine which of my songs I would like to include on this first album.” (Spice is the audio engineer of music at W&L and the son of emeritus music professor Gordon Spice.)

Martinez also considers himself lucky to have world-class acoustic musicians in Rockbridge County. “James Leva, W&L Class of ’80, who served as producer on this album, has produced many of his own fabulous albums. Julia Goudimova (instructor of applied cello at W&L) is a remarkably talented cellist, and I had the good fortune that she agreed to compose cello accompaniments for three of the songs. Her work is hauntingly beautiful.”

“The other musicians on the album — Leo Lorenzoni and Lee Sauder — are also local artists who are nationally recognized. Leo is not only an accomplished musician, but also a luthier and has a musical-instrument restoration and repair shop just half a block from the Lenfest Center. Lee Sauder has his own band, Honest Labor, and has played harmonica with many other bands in the area for over 30 years. I would also proudly mention that my daughter, Lea, created the beautiful artwork and design for the CD packaging.”

Martinez said he’s always been a solo artist, and so learning to coordinate his style of music with other musicians was a challenge. “I’ve learned so much from the fine musicians and dear friends who have helped me with this long-delayed project. Fortunately, with the advent of digital music recording on a home computer, learning to record one’s self has become easier and less expensive. I have a music studio in my log cabin, where I work creating and recording new songs on an amateur level — nothing like the quality of recordings created by this album’s sound engineer and percussionist, Graham Spice.”

The album took two years to complete; he hopes his next one won’t take as long. As much as he’d like to have a CD release party, it’s not easy scheduling musicians for rehearsals and performance. “But if we do, it will be great fun and the high point of an old dream come true.”

In the meantime, you can listen to clips of his album, as well as purchase it, at .

Death Penalty and Clemency Focus of W&L Law Review Symposium

The annual Lara D. Gass Symposium at the Washington and Lee University School of Law will focus this year on the controversial case of Joseph M. Giarratano, using his story to explore the ethical, legal and public policy issues surrounding the use of the death penalty.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 5-6 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. Except for the evening keynote dinner, which is by invitation only, the symposium proceedings are free and open to the public.

Giarratano was convicted of murder in 1979, but after his story drew national and international attention raising questions about his guilt, his death sentence was commuted to life by then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder in 1991. However, then-Virginia Attorney General Mary Sue Terry denied a new trial for Giarratano. You can read more about Giarratano in a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch story covering his case and the symposium.

According to event organizers, Giarratano’s case raises several issues about death penalty decisions, including ineffective assistance of counsel, clemency, post-conviction relief, actual innocence, prison conditions, race and gender and the use of the death penalty on those with mental illness or intellectual disability.

Panels on Feb. 5 will cover rights and remedies available when a death row inmate’s lawyer did not perform up to constitutionally acceptable standards; capital punishment and actual innocence; and life on death row.

Panels on Feb. 6 will cover executive powers over sentencing; death penalty advocacy; race and gender’s impact in capital sentencing; and the use of capital punishment on people with mental illness or intellectual disability.

Speakers include Gerald T. Zerkin, one of Giarratano’s lawyers; Deidre Enright with the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law; David Bruck, prominent capital defense attorney and professor at W&L Law; Richard Bonnie, professor of medicine and law at the University of Virginia School of law; and Jonathan Shapiro, prominent capital defense attorney and visiting professor at W&L Law.

The invitation-only keynote address and dinner will feature introductory remarks by Mike Farrell, an actor, longtime Giarratano supporter and death penalty activist. The keynote address will be delivered by Robin Konrad, Assistant Federal Public Defender from the Capital Habeas Unit. Konrad represents prisoners who are seeking habeas corpus relief from their state and federal convictions and death sentences. Most recently, she represented the petitioners in their lethal-injection challenge in Glossip v. Gross, 125 S. Ct. 2726 (2015), before the United States Supreme Court.

A full schedule and registration information is available online. For questions about the event, contact Christina Tacoronti ‘16L at tacoronti.c@law.wlu.edu.

The Lara D. Gass Symposium is named in honor of Lara Gass, a member of the Law Class of 2014 who passed away in an automobile accident in March of 2014.Gass served as Symposium Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, organizing the Law Review’s 2014 symposium focused on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Lara was active within the Women Law Students Organization and also served as a Kirgis Fellow, the law school’s peer mentoring group, during the 2012–2103 academic year. In January 2014, Lara received recognition for her academic achievements, her leadership abilities, her service to the law school and university community, and her character when she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.

Organized and hosted by the W&L Law Review, this event is sponsored by the Dean’s Office, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Class of 1963, Washington and Lee University and the Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University.

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W&L's Colón Offers Tips for Media Covering Donald Trump in The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Dear Media: Here are some tips for covering Donald Trump and the GOP campaign

by Aly Colón

The GOP candidates debate again tomorrow night.

Donald Trump reportedly won’t join them. His campaign has confirmed to various news outlets that he intends to skip the debate after losing a showdown with Fox News over Megyn Kelly’s role as moderator.

That doesn’t mean he won’t be drawing media attention with what he says and how he says it. This time, let’s hope the media gets its coverage of Trump right.

By “get it right,” I mean more illumination of the candidate and his policies and less simple reflection of the heat he generates.

Journalists may find themselves challenged to find the light because of Trump’s politically aggressive approach and inflammatory language. He famously claimed Mexico sends rapists and criminals to the U.S. He suggested Muslims should not be allowed in the country, and that thousands of them cheered the attack on the World Trade Towers on 9/11. A Muslim woman was recently ejected from a Trump rally in South Carolina.

Into the fray

Trump targets journalists, too. His numerous disagreements with Kelly started at the first GOP debate back in August. He had Jorge Ramos of Univision thrown out of a press conference, although he later let him back in. In an TV interview, he called New Hampshire Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid a “low life.” And he appeared to physically mock Serge Kovaleski of The New York Times, who has a congenital joint disease.

Despite these attacks, it is critical in political campaigns that the public get information it can trust. How ethically journalists cover the news matters. As the Knight Chair of Media Ethics at Washington and Lee University who has taught ethics to professional journalists for a decade at the Poynter Institute, I see journalistic credibility as essential for a functioning democracy.

How can a journalist report the facts but also tell the truth?

What approach will enable the news media to convince its readers, listeners and viewers what matters is news — not views?

A question of trust

A good place to start is by critically examining the journalistic work being produced.

Trump’s caustic, often unproven, provocative statements and actions are prompting a number of those in the news media to reevaluate how to describe and label what he says.

Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith acknowledges that it is a challenge to be fair and not undermine his staff’s work, when it comes to covering Trump. Erik Wemple, the media critic at the Washington Post, writes that “neutral journalism” needs to be rethought when it comes to this candidate.

Smith’s and Wemple’s views challenge the “objective,” or even impartial, approach usually expected and followed by traditional journalists. For them, the journalistic tendency of just providing the facts may not be enough.

Beyond stenography

Defining a substantive news agenda is also important.

Plenty of news outlets will report on the horse race throughout the campaign to come.

What’s needed are more stories that provide a more thorough understanding of what would happen if Trump’s comments and policies became a reality.

The Washington Post did this harder kind of story when it looked at how Trumps taps into the antipathy some white Americans have for immigrants. The National Catholic Register, to choose another example, did a good job by examining what Trump’s ban on Muslims might have on the religious freedom of other religious groups.

Look to history

History provides some lessons on dealing with an accusatory candidate.

Salon writer Daniel Denvir penned an article headlined: “Donald Trump is the second coming of George Wallace.” Wallace, like Trump, focused on those who feared for their safety, wrote Denvir.

In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy became famous, then infamous, for supposedly uncovering Communists in the U.S. government. In general, too many journalists failed to report on McCarthy with depth or scope. The press stuck to “narrow definitions of ‘objectivity’ (that) provided little of no background or analysis, according to Edwin R. Bayley, who wrote a book about McCarthy and the press.

Trump’s attacks matter, but they matter less than the news media’s need to decide what coverage is required, the accuracy of Trump’s messages and their impact.

By relying on journalistic codes and guiding principles, journalists can position themselves to keep their focus off of themselves and centered on the implications and impact of Trump’s pronouncements. The key is to examine the why – and not just the what – of what Trump trumpets.

W&L's Jonathan Eastwood to Give Laurent Boetsch Term Professorship Lecture

Jonathan Eastwood, professor of sociology and anthropology at Washington and Lee University, will give his inaugural lecture marking his appointment as the Laurent Boetsch Term Associate Professor in Sociology on Feb. 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of his lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “Challenges and Opportunities in the Study of National Identity.”

“Nationalism and national identity are notoriously difficult subjects to study empirically,” said Eastwood. “In this non-technical talk, I will describe two strategies I’ve been employing in recent work in progress. The first is an expert survey project on the history of national identity across Europe and the post-Soviet polities and a collaboration with Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl, Peter Grajzl and Nicolas Prevelakis. The second is a simulations project I have begun with a student.”

Eastwood joined the faculty of Washington and Lee in 2006. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University. He was a lecturer at Harvard University before coming to Washington and Lee.

His areas of research include sociological theory and comparative social science and is especially interested in relationships between collective identities, collective action and conflict.

Selected recent publications of Eastwood’s are “Comparative Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings” (ed., 2016); “Can (and Should) We Construct An Evolutionary Psychological Theory of Institutions?” in Sociological Forum (2015); “Comparative Politics: Integrating Theories, Methods, and Cases” (ed., 2012, 2nd edition currently in progress); and “Reflections on the Implications of Evolutionary Psychology for the Theory of Institutions” in Journal of Institutional Economics (2012).

His book, “The Revolution in Venezuela: Social and Political Change Under Chávez” (2011), was named Choice Outstanding Title in 2012.

Eastwood is also ad hoc manuscript reviewer for American Journal of Sociology; American Sociological Review; Social Psychology Quarterly; Nations and Nationalism; Theory and Society; Philosophy of Social Science; Theory, Culture and Society; Politics and Policy, as well as university and academic presses.